Results for category "Language"

Montessori letter sound drawers

During my training I was not taught about sound drawers, never even heard about them! We met when I started working at the school I work now, the moment I saw them  we connected, it was like love at second sight, for me.

A Montessori classroom is divided by subject areas but the main areas are math, language, practical life and sensorial. In these areas you will find a lot of supplemental material, meaning not everything on the shelves is Montessori or made by a Montessori company, is mostly made by the teachers, and so are the sound drawers. They work so nicely and add a great amount of reinforcement to the language curriculum in the classroom.

In my classroom we have 2 drawer boxes, one like the picture below and another one with all the letters in the alphabet which we call the “Alphabet drawer box”. We start by using the alphabet drawer, the purpose is to teach and reinforce beginning sounds and vocabulary enrichment. In this lesson each drawer has about 5 picture cards with a specific beginning sound, for example “A-apple, arm, airplane, arrow, alligator” and the letter “A” from the moveable alphabet. We grab 2 or 3 drawers at a time and sort out the pictures, for more details check out my post about Montessori Pink series lessons and games.

The other drawer box looks like this

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This drawer box is more specific and is mainly introduced with the Montessori Blue series because of the blends and the vowel combinations. Each drawer contains about 7 picture and word cards, and the purpose is for the student to match them correctly, I recommend not introducing this drawer until all the sounds have been mastered, along with the Montessori Pink Series.  The rows are color coded like instructed by Maria Montessori,  vowels are red, blends are blue, and digraphs are green. Is extremely important to take into consideration he readiness of the child before introducing this lesson.

You can find the drawer box for $20. Like I said, in my classroom we have 2 drawer boxes, one like the picture and another one with all the letters in the alphabet. Make your own labels based on your classroom needs and keep in mind that every lesson is the beginning and end of something new.

Montessori Pink series lessons and games

This is a continuation of the Montessori Inspired reading series post where I explained how to start the Montessori Pink reading series.

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I have been asked lately, How come my child is not reading the blends properly, after we’ve done all the pink series work? Well, blends and digraphs do come after the Montessori Pink Series, and are part of the Montessori Blue reading series, which is the second step in teaching a child how to read using the Montessori method. A blend is two letters together that create a new sound, like ch-chair, sh-shoe, pl-plane; so is very important to have mastered all the sounds and letter recognition before moving on to the Montessori Blue series.

Maria Montessori’s philosophy encouraged independence, order, and freedom within limits, to allow the child to make a choice of the material he/she wishes to use to enrich and provide a deeper level of development. If the child is not ready for such material it should not be introduced.

Throughout time I have found that rearranging of lessons and creativity allows for a deeper sense of exploration, which I have noticed, lets the child see things they have never seen before, so Is extremely important to observe and be aware of the needs of the child. With that being said, I like to add a few variations to my Montessori Pink series before we move on to the Blue series.

What I love about the Montessori Pink series is how versatile you can make it, using CVC words, picture cards, objects and the moveable alphabet. If you need help on how to start the Montessori Pink Series just go back to my previous post. Remember, in order for you to add variations and modifications the child must know all the ABC sounds and recognize the letters.

I like to start by grabbing a few drawers from our ABC sound drawers, or to be more specific, you can work with vowels only. Mix all the pictures at the bottom of the rug, place the moveable alphabet letters on the top, and let the child match the picture with the beginning letter sound. And remember you can DIY your moveable alphabet 🙂

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Another lesson I like to incorporate is what I call “Mystery word”. In a container I make 5 words and add a blindfold. The point of the lesson is for the child to explore the letters only using the tactile sense, and to try to make words out of the letters. After a while, change the words or maybe add miniature objects. I got the letter from an old Melissa & dough game I had laying around.

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My kids and I love glue and scissors, so I made this booklet for them. The idea is to identify the name of the pictures, cut out the letters and glue them to build words. Im not very computer savvy so I’m still trying to figure out a way to make the file downloadable and share it in my TPT account, any tips and advise will be greatly appreciated it.

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Everything that involves a tactile experience is a hit in my class, so I made this sand writing box for under $6. I have seen a lot of different styles so just get creative, the kids will love it.

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Here are few more lessons to reinforce beginning sounds and letter recognition. The purpose of a Montessori environment is to let the child be free and happy with his work; so if you already introduced pink series and your child is not getting the concept of Montessori blends then is simply because he/she is not ready. Get creative with the Montessori Pink series and spend a few more time on it.

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Montessori inspired reading series – Pink series

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I absolutely love the approach Maria Montessori took on language development, the method is absolutely genius and allows you and the child to play around with it as the need emerges. Coming to USA from a non-English speaking country has very difficult for me, and I wished I was thought English using phonics the way Maria Montessori did, it would’ve been so much easier for me to learn a second language.

The method is the same everywhere, what varies is the way is divided and presented to the child. I’ve seen some people use “family boxes” and others “reading series” both are different from each other but have the same purpose. I was taught with “Reading series” and I have made some adjustments to mine over time.

The Montessori Reading Series is composed of 3 categories: Pink, Blue, and Green. Pink is the first one and it includes CVC words (Constant Vowel Consonant), beginning sounds, ending sounds, and rhyming. Blue series has the all the blends and digraphs split into subcategories, and the green series has long vowels or CVCV (E) words, (Consonant Vowel Consonant Vowel or silent e), and sight words. It sounds like a lot but don’t worry, I’ll walk you thru it.

The first step to teaching a child to read is to introduce the alphabet phonetically and allow them to discover different words with a particular sound. In my class we use the ABC board with picture cards, I wrote about in my previous post.

Pink Series

Once most of the letter sounds have been mastered, introduce the Montessori Pink Series. My pink series is divided into 5 small boxes:

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  1. t, m, b, f, a.
  2. h, g, r, c, l.
  3. l, s, d, k, u.
  4. w, p, j, n, o.
  5. q, v, x, y, z, e.

 

 

I start with the first box which contains letters t, m, b, f, a. I like to start using sand paper letters, I ask the child to trace it and tell me the sound, and we play Knock knock game, which consist of grabbing one set of sand paper letters and flipping them upside down; Have the child knock on one letter saying “Knock knock” and you will reply “who’s there” and the child will flip the letter and say the name and sound of the letter. Remember to alway do a 3 period lesson as an assessment of the lesson.

In our next sitting with the lesson I add objects (at least 2-3 objects per letter) so the child can match the beginning sound of the object to the sand paper letter, the tactile experience helps a lot with the recognition of letter sounds; Sit back and let them sound out the name of the object and just watch them match it, is like magic.

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 Switch the objects to picture cards, it allows for vocabulary enrichment and use of imagination. Is just as important to review ending sound, you’ll see how is a lot easier to find the ending sound of a word as opposed to the beginning sound, but is normal, the ending sound of a word is the last thing a child says and that’s why is the easiest to remember. Just practice and emphasize in vocalizing the first sound.

The next step is to put together each letter sound to make a word. Here is when you introduce CVC words (Consonant Vowel Consonant) like “hat, pup, dog, wig …” I like to add the moveable alphabet at this point because it provides a great visual to the learning experience. Feel free to add objects or picture cards to match to the words. Using the tactile sense is very important in following the Montessori philosophy.

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During my training we used this lesson called the vowel tree, is meant to be used with the Montessori pink and green series. I love it and so do the kids, is perfect practice for forming words, blending sounds and reading words, but most importantly reinforcing left to right progression in reading. Feel free to incorporate the moveable alphabet, objects and picture cards.

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Towards the end of the pink series introduce some rhyming cards and sentence cards, is a great way to help with reading and giving confidence to the child. Play games like Mystery word, hide and seek, flash cards, or spelling. get creative and have fun!

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Playing with letter sounds

A key step to reading using the Montessori method is by teaching children letter sounds before letter names. It can be tricky if you’re not familiar with the system; tip #1: use short vowel sounds like a-apple not acorn. Long vowels sounds are complicated and you will get to them eventually. Tip #2: use simple words along with graphics, p-popcorn instead of puppy. Remember that young children have a limited vocabulary, and through pictures is hard to differentiate a dog from a puppy.

I firmly believe that variations make learning much more fun, and always having the same materials can turn out to be boring sometimes, so I’ve created other lesson activities to help with letter sounds. Hold on tight, I will provide you with the links for free downloads. Feel free play around with the materials and get creative.

 

The popsicle stick ABC: you will need a printer, cardstock, popsicle sticks and a craft punch for easy cutting

Steps:

  1. Print out the PDF file of the popsicle stick letters here
  2. I used a craft cutter of  1 1/2” to make cutting easier 🙂
  3. you can choose to laminate the letters for more durability
  4. glue the letters to a popsicle sticks. I used a dot of hot glue.
  5. HAVE FUN!

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ABC stamp game: you will need a set of letter stamps. I found mine at a local craft store

Steps:

  1. download and print the ABC stamp sheet here
  2. set of ABC stamps. I got mine at local craft store ($9.99) but I found this great set by Melissa & Doug with lower and upper case letters and stamps.
    • Be sure to use lower case letters with this template.
  3. Washable red and blue ink pads.
    • You can also laminate the sheet for multiple uses.
  4. Enjoy!

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DIY moveable alphabet

When I discovered the Montessori method for reading I was static! I had fallen in love all over again. Coming from another country and learning how to speak English wasn’t easy and to be honest with you I don’t know how I did it, but I do know how much I struggled; now I think if I would’ve been introduced to this reading method I would’ve save many tears.

A good way to start is to introduce phonics instead of letter names, they will learn letter names later on. Is very important to give the child the opportunity to touch, feel, and explore the letters on their own, that’s why sensorial lessons and activities are introduced in early childhood. For beginning reading I would recommend either bob reading series, or Primary Phonics. I have personally worked with both and I’m really excited because I just order my first very own to use at home.

In my classroom we have our ABC board with matching picture cards. We do the ABC board everyday as part of our morning routine, we play matching games with picture cards and the children love it. Remember repetition is the key to success! Here is a good set of alphabet cards to start with, eventually you’ll want to move on to only picture cards.

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 Not everybody has the flexibility to have their children at a good Montessori school, it’s popularity has increased tremendously in the past few years making it less affordable to everyone. But fortunately we’re creative and resourceful so I made my own ABC board and “moveable alphabet” to keep at home. Be mindful that you’ll  need at least 5 letters of each to make a moveable alphabet.

Here’s the list of materials:

Wood letters ( I got mine at Amazon)

Red and blue spray paint (Home Depot)

Plastic Container with dividers (Got mine at a local hardware store)

Total cost: $15.11 yours might vary slightly but considers a moveable alphabet alone is around $60.00.

Be sure to do it in a hot sunny day for the paint to dry completely. I used acrylic blue paint I had at home from a previous project, but you can use any kind.

Next:

STEP 1. Cover the painting area and secure it with tape so it doesn’t fly out, and separate all the vowels from the consonants. I was so excited to start painting that I forgot to take  pictures 🙁

STEP 2.  Paint the consonants red and the vowels blue. I applied three coats of blue paint to the vowels because the wood kept absorbing the paint; be sure to let them dry completely between each coat.

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STEP 3. After the letters are completely dried place them in the container. Mine didn’t have all 26 spaces so I had to combine W with X, and Y with Z.

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STEP 4. Use and reuse over and over again.

I also made a set with capital letters to use in replacement of the ABC board to use with the flashcards. I don’t have the wood board at home like I do in school so I lay them in a carpet instead.

Have fun!